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Month: August 2018

August 30, 2018

On the Social Contract; or, Principles of Runner’s Rights

Stephen Kersh presents: On the Social Contract; or, Principles of Runner’s Rights. These are the soon-to-be-agreed-upon tenets that I believe will ultimately lead to a more perfect union within our niche community.

August 28, 2018

We Are Now In The Audio Guided Run Business

We want to take you on a journey in a 20-minute guided run. Thoms Heynk and Nicole Bush take you on our new guided audio runs.

August 27, 2018

Eric Senseman Mentioned Me In An Article On CITIUS MAG And My Life Instantly Got Better

What happens when you cite someone in an article about CITIUS MAG following you on Instagram? Dakota Jones found out.

August 27, 2018

Jacob Thomson: An Open Letter Ahead of Cross Country Season

Former Kentucky distance star Jacob Thomson shares advice for his former teammates and all runners before the start of cross country.

August 27, 2018

If You’re Not A Sports Fan, Don’t Read This

Running has its metaphorical baton passing like other sports. But not everyone is eager to pass the baton. Kilian Jornet is one of those people.

August 16, 2018

Track on the Road Interlude: Trails and Toilet Brushes

After living out of a van, Andrew Wise has settled in Colorado and is beginning to understand how lucky he is to take care of a national park.

August 9, 2018

The Lodi Mile Captures the Spirit of a Town

Unless you’re a big fan of wine, you may not have heard of Lodi, California.

The town with a population of nearly 65,000 is primarily known for its wine industry but often sits in the shadow of better known wine grape growing regions in the nearby Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

“We still have a small town feel even though the population has grown in recent years,” said Dave Phillips, co-owner of Michael David Winery, Lodi’s preeminent wine-making company. “Everyone is very proud of what we’ve developed with Lodi now being recognized as a great wine region.”

While runners are much more likely to down a beer than a glass of wine after a race or training run, the blue-collar spirit Lodi prides itself on has more similarities to distance running than you’d think.

“For both running and wine making, it takes a lot of hard work, grit and determination to produce something great,” said Jeff Merrill, race director of the Lodi Mile. “Distance running and Lodi’s culture go hand in hand. Neither of them may know that right now, but we’re trying to make that connection.”

A Lodi native, Merrill first found his love for the sport while running on the local high school cross country and track teams. Those teams drew from what Merrill affectionately described as “a nucleus of nerds and outcasts” that over time banded together as a team while developing a fondness for the sport.

“We had a decent football team, but it didn’t match what our cross country team was doing. So it made us wonder why we weren’t getting any attention,” Merrill said. “It made us think what we needed to do to make this sport popular and translate what we love about it to let other people get excited about it, too.”

That’s the genesis of the Lodi Mile started. Shortly after finishing his collegiate running career at the University of Michigan in 2010 (including competing at the Maccabiah Games, a.k.a. the Jewish Olympics, in 2009), Merrill began contemplating about how to bring an elite race to his hometown.

But having an idea for a race and learning the logistical hurdles to actually putting one on were two very different things.

“I had no idea what I was doing when we started it. I just assumed if I put this thing on lots of people would show up,” Merrill said. “I was pretty naive, which helped in some ways because I simply cold called and Facebook messaged different pro runners asking them if they wanted to compete.”

The first two editions of the race in 2013 and 2014 were run out on a country road that cut through plots of vineyards, inspired by the Fifth Avenue Mile in New York City that runs between Central Park on one side and city’s iconic skyscrapers on the other.

The remote location of the country road, however, made it challenging to get large numbers of spectators to watch the races.

Starting with the 2015 edition of the race, Merrill opted to move the race to the heart of downtown Lodi, which has helped the event become an attraction whether you’re a running fan or just out on the town for a few glasses of wine on a warm summer day.

“There are a lot of road races and track meets, but there aren’t many that are real spectacles that people go to like you go to a concert, movie or sporting event,” Merrill said. “You plan your day around it because you want to see a show.”

For the 2018 edition of the race, a big goal is on the mind of race organizers — a sub-four minute mile on the roads of Lodi.

Despite having the likes of Garrett Heath and the late David Torrence as past men’s race winners, the Lodi Mile has yet to produce a sub-four minute time.

If it was to happen this Sunday, it would be the first sub-four minute performance in San Joaquin County since Don Bowden became the first American to break four minutes in the mile when the Cal-Berkeley athlete ran 3:58.7 in Stockton in 1957.

Whether a sub-four mark is achieved, Merrill has grown the race, now in its sixth year, into something that is uniquely Lodi. Rather than traditional trophies, race winners are awarded decorative grapewood branches. The winning teams in the high school team competitions have their names engraved on large oak wine barrels, Stanley Cup-style.

For Merrill, it all comes down to athletes and spectators alike having an experience as unique as the spirit of Lodi itself.

“I want them to walk away saying, ‘Well, shit, that’s something I’ve never experienced before.'”

August 8, 2018

Citius Mag Followed Me On Instagram And My Life Instantly Got Better

An interned decided that Eric Senseman was worth following on Instagram and it led to a crazy chain of events for one of our favorite ultrarunners.

August 7, 2018

Starting Speed Work: When Courtney Frerichs Broke 60 Seconds For The 400 Meters

An animated look at when Courtney Frerichs, now the American record holder in the steeplechase, broke 60 seconds for the 400 meters – a major goal for her.

August 2, 2018

Blog Boys Take Raleigh for Sir Walter Miler 2018

The CITIUS MAG crew heads south to Raleigh to take in the 2018 Sir Walter Miler, where professional runners look to add to the 26 sub-four miles clocked.

August 2, 2018

Why Is It So Difficult To Write About Running?

The runner who writes or the writer who runs will sometimes have to acknowledge a seemingly tragic paradox when it comes to documenting the sport.

August 1, 2018

Cars 3 Is The Worst Movie To Watch While Injured

Sitting down and watching Cars 3 while nursing an Achilles injury might be worse than the actual injury. Here’s a cautionary tale.

August 1, 2018

The Athlete Special: Epic Long Run Progression

Spencer ‘The Athlete Special’ Brown takes us on a 14-mile progression long run as he gears up for the 2018 NCAA cross country season.

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